How civil unrest can impact our mental health

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Odessa, TEXAS (Big 2/Fox 24) – There are cases of peaceful protests across the country as well as riots, and many disagree with what’s right or wrong right now. For this week’s segment of Centers Solutions: COVID Edition, Kristi Edwards and Melanie Saiz explain how civil unrest can impact people and their mental health, and how the U.S. can move forward. 

“A lot of highly charged conversations going on, especially online. This affects people greatly.  It gives us a chance to continue to think about it, it can prevent people from sleeping because it’s just going on in our minds constantly. It’s a really important conversation to talk about how highly charged conversations are affecting our mental health,” says Centers Marketing & Development Director Melanie Saiz.  

Conflicts or unrest can cause feelings of anger, isolation, and self-doubt. It can be difficult to have conversations about topics like politics, how that impacts your family or your community, or the responses we have seen across the country when it comes to topics like criminal justice. Kristi Edwards says it could be helpful to listen to other people’s viewpoints in a respectful way.  

“What we’re trying to kind of promote in the mental health community, is how do we create a safe and welcoming conversation, that people can people can have across all religious backgrounds, ethnic backgrounds, that will allow for everyone to have a voice, that would challenge others in a positive way, not like in a demeaning way, or a put down way. Provide an opportunity for mutual understanding. I think at this point we have a lot of people who believe one thing and don’t want to listen to another side, and what we’re trying to promote is that unity in listening, ” said Centers Executive Director Kristi Edwards.  

Civil unrest in U.S. can weigh heavy on those impacted.  Edwards recommends talking about that feeling of heaviness. 

” Talk to somebody that you trust within your family. Reach out to your spiritual leaders, and if that heaviness kind of just won’t go away, and if it’s kind of melded with some anxiety or depression, or fear–anything like that, is then when you need to reach out to a mental health professional and talk to a therapist,” said Edwards.

Both Edwards and Saiz say you should be able to share what’s on your mind, but when it comes to social media, steer clear of “trolls” on social media who criticize your point of view on topics because it won’t help ease those feelings of heaviness. Centers has a podcast on this topic.

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